Spiritual Warfare book 1: Major Spiritual Warfare Principles: Biblical Do’s and Don’ts of WarfareChapter 2. Our Territory and Nature of Our Christian Authority
CHAPTER 2 SUB-TOPICS:
-Sphere of Influence
-Exercising our Christian Authority on Earth
1. Our Christian Authority through Binding and Loosing
a) True Binding and Loosing
b) Limitations of Binding and Loosing
2. Our Christian Authority through our Roles in Body of Christ
a) Implies Divine Choice
b) Implies Representation
c) Implies Offering Living Sacrifice (ourselves)
This is quite a boring chapter with its detailed coverage on church doctrine and 2,000 years of interpretation of particular scriptures. It is nonetheless essential to understanding our boundaries of authority according to the bible in relation to matters we deal with in life, both physical (seen) and spiritual (unseen). It’s also a short chapter compared to the book’s principle chapters.
God has his unlimited sphere of authority, we have our limited one, and Satan too has his limited authority. We cannot afford to go beyond our limited sphere of influence because we end up straying into unauthorized territory that does not have heaven’s backing.
Without heaven’s backing we end up merely operating in our own strength, a sure strategy for defeat. This chapter explains where our limited sphere of influence lies.
Sphere of Influence
Knowing our sphere or territory of influence is important to avoid going into unauthorized territory and matters. Much error has arisen here in the body of Christ. On the extreme right some have assumed we could exercise authority over everything on earth and in the spirit realm except God.
One example is that the church as an institution assumed it had the authority to forgive (loose) or withhold (bind) the sins of its members.
Another concerns spiritual warfare and deliverance teachings where believers assume they have authority to directly confront evil spirits that live outside people and in the heavenly realms. Both have used scripture to justify their understanding.
On the extreme left some have assumed we are mere passengers in God’s master plan that only he dictates while we follow.
He is the Porter while we’re the clay so we have no say in how our lives unfold. Whatever experience or matter in our lives, good or bad, big or small, he predestined it to come our way. All we can do, like Job, is to trust him that he knows what he is doing even though we may not understand. By faith we keep going. This assumption also uses scripture. Both extremes, plus the other extreme given above, are harmful to believers in the Body of Christ.
The authority or influence assigned to the Body of Christ belonged to all mankind from the beginning of creation. God told Adam and Eve, “fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground,” Genesis 1:28.
The earth was ours to rule over while God retained authority in the heavens. “The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to man,” Psalm 115:16.
However, through sin that came by Satan’s deception on Adam and Eve we lost this authority on earth. What Jesus did on the cross was to restore it to us. He was restoring the authority mankind lost by giving it to his church. Unbelievers however, are still under the influence and authority of Satan who stole our birthright of ruling the earth. The church on the other hand, is immune to Satan’s authority. He can try to influence us but cannot rule over us.
Through the Holy Spirit living in us we have the final say in determining our decisions and ultimately the course of our lives.
Although the sphere of authority changed very little when Christ restored it to us, the assignment for using the authority changed.
The sphere or realm of authority remains on the earthly realm. However, the purpose for using the authority changed. We now have a higher purpose than just populating the earth and releasing our creative potential to better manage our lives.
Our new purpose is to populate God’s kingdom. It is a priestly purpose. It involves fulfilling all our priestly duties assigned to each one of us in the body of Christ.
Through our various priestly duties people are set free from their bondage to Satan, spiritually, socially, physically and materially. It is deliverance ministry in its totality from Satan’s kingdom into God’s kingdom. Each one of us in the body of Christ has a form of deliverance ministry we’ve been commissioned to fulfill.
The only addition to our authority on earth concerned confronting evil spirits living in people. This is not the same thing as confronting evil spirits living in the spiritual realm, in geographical areas, or in thin air where they do not occupy any human vessel.
The chapter on “Exception for Direct Confrontation” explains the authority on confronting evil spirits living in people. Going outside its boundaries has recently been getting us into trouble.
Exercising our Christian Authority on Earth
1. a) True Binding and Loosing
A scripture that helps us understand how we exercise our assigned authority is in Matthew 16. Our Lord said, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven,” Matthew 16:19.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary says, “This binding and loosing, in the common language of the Jews, signified to forbid and to allow, or to teach what is lawful or unlawful.”
John Wesley’s Bible Notes say, “Under the term of binding and loosing are contained all those acts of discipline which Peter and his brethren performed as apostles: and undoubtedly what they thus performed on earth, God confirmed in heaven.”
The Matthew Henry Complete Commentary says the authority to bind and loose among the Jews, “signified to prohibit and permit; to teach or declare a thing to be unlawful was to bind; to be lawful, was to loose.
“Now the apostles had an extraordinary power of this kind; some things forbidden by the law of Moses were now to be allowed, as the eating of such and such meats; some things allowed there were now to be forbidden, as divorce; and the apostles were empowered to declare this to the world, and men might take it upon their words.
When Peter was first taught himself, and then taught others, to call nothing common or unclean, this power was exercised.”
It says the authority to bind and loose,
“is a power which Christ has promised to own the due administration of; he will ratify the sentences of his stewards with his own approbation; It shall be bound in heaven, and loosed in heaven: not that Christ hath hereby obliged himself to confirm all church-censures, right or wrong; but such as are duly passed according to the word, clave non errante—the key turning the right way, such are sealed in heaven; that is, the word of the gospel, in the mouth of faithful ministers, is to be looked upon, not as the word of man, but as the word of God, and to be received accordingly, 1 Th. 2:13; Jn. 12:20.”
(sorry for the difficult old English)
Binding and loosing therefore implies making decisions on allowing or forbidding matters on earth which once agreed upon would be supported in heaven.
These matters could be in whatever area of life –spiritual, social, political, physical and material.
They have largely been spiritual or religious matters throughout history. Unfortunately we recently (in the past few decades) took the binding and loosing to imply the authority to go after evil spirits.
Before this assumption, there was another error of using the authority given to the church. The church, under the Roman Catholic Church, as an institution used it to forgive (loose) or withhold (bind) the sins of its members.
After the Lord revealed this error many Christians, led by Martin Luther, protested. They called such acts as blasphemy, since religious leaders were acting as God, able to forgive or retain sins.
What would we then call the act of going to bind and loose evil spirits?
We were never assigned to do it. The book of Jude calls it “slander” against “celestial beings,” because “men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand,” Jude 1:8-10.
It is spiritual slander. We cannot afford taking scripture out of its context and assigning it a different meaning just to justify a point that we have authority over evil spirits.
Authority over evil spirits is given in another passage of scripture and not in Matthew 16. This authority is however, limited in its nature –like any other form of authority.
The chapter on “Exception for Direct Confrontation” explains this area of authority.
Notice also that the binding and loosing power given to Christians involved the church. The church in its literal meaning is a council or a congregation of the “called out ones.”
The Matthew Henry Complete Commentary defines it as “the children of men called out of the world, and set apart from it, and dedicated to Christ.”
The church is a representative congregation of people who decide on matters that affect their lives and the lives of people they represent before heaven, not hell.
They render the matters as binding or loosed in the sense of annulling whatever was considered bound. As the council or church presents its decisions before heaven once agreed upon on earth God in his heavenly government also considers them binding in the heavenly realms.
How these matters are enforced as bound or loosed in the heavenly realm may not be a big issue to know. All we know is that God’s angels are involved in fulfilling what he has considered binding. The angels do the work of fighting any spiritual beings that oppose his will. We do not have any business to directly deal with these heavenly beings.
The authority of binding and loosing was therefore not intended for going after evil spirits. It was Christ giving the power of agreement on matters between us in the church (body of Christ) and heaven. The minimum number to operate in this authority is two.
“I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them,” Matthew 18:18-20.
Two or more people thus constitute a church with enough power on earth to receive the full backing of heaven on whatever matters they’re entrusted with. Whatever they agree upon is then left to heaven to fulfill the rest.
This includes heaven’s role in directly overcoming the evil spiritual forces that try to oppose what has been considered a binding matter between heaven and earth. We’re not to interfere how God’s government deals with these matters in the heavenly (celestial) realm. Our jurisdiction is down here – authority over whatever (spiritual, social, political, physical) matters that exist on earth. “Whatever you bind on earth…”
“Whatever you bind on earth…” It is “on earth,” not in the spirit realm, nor in the heavenly and nor in the unseen world. It is also “whatever” matters or issues, not “whatever” spirits nor demonic beings. Taking the original meaning out of context invalidates what Christ actually meant. Changing what he meant creates a totally different scripture that’s not in the bible and one that does not have the backing of heaven.
1. b) Limitations of Binding and Loosing
2. Our Christian Authority Through our Roles in Body of Christ
2. a) Implies Divine Choice
2. b) Implies Representation
2. c) Implies Offering Living Sacrifice (ourselves)
Summary on Our Christian Authority through Our Roles in Body of Christ
Spiritual Warfare book 1: Major Spiritual Warfare Principles: Biblical Do’s and Don’ts of Warfare © 2008 Eric Gondwe